Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Eating my way through the fair

Yesterday, after I took my Radioisotope Safety final (which went just fine), New Friend Veronica and I went to the Wisconsin State Fair. My original goal had been to eat a variety of foods on sticks, because that is a major innovation of state fair technology. I'm sure someone has written a dissertation on the origins, histories and evolutions of foods on sticks. I'm sure it starts with the chicken (or other fowl) leg -- nature's food on a stick -- travels through shish kabobs, expounds on the importance of the corn dog and Popsicle in 20th century Western culture, and ends with a surreal listing of current fair foods on sticks such as pickles, pork chops and deep friend Snickers bars. At least mine would. Unless I did any real research and found something else cool.

There's a problem with food on sticks, though. They tend to be expensive. It's as if the stick were a premium souvenir of some sort that you'd pay dearly for, even if it didn't hold a delicious food item. Since I'm a poor graduate student, a quick check of the finances caused me to reevaluate my Fair goal. So I decided to Do The Fair on $20. I found that it was "Crazy Grazin' Night" at the Wisconsin State Fair, a promotion that involves selected vendors offering special portions at a reduced price or "buy one, get one" offers and such. In short, Bargain Food. Cool. This would prove helpful in the pursuit of my new goal.

Turns out, you can stuff yourself incredibly efficiently on $20. Here's how I fared:

Ticket to the Wisconsin State Fair$8.00
Sen. Herb Kohl's flavored milk (strawberry)$0.25
Apple cider doughnut$0.50
Usinger's all natural hot dog (w/kraut)$1.00
Dried cranberry/white chocolate chip cookie
and glass of cranberry juice
1/2 order garlic cheese dippers$0.75
24 oz. Coke$2.50
Funnel cake$4.00
Cup of coffee$1.50

I don't know about you, but I'm pretty impressed. Now you know how little it takes to impress me. Come on over and do a trick! I'll love you forever!

A little shot in the direction of the midway which makes it seem like a dinky little affair -- trust me, it's not.

After dark it made for a more interesting picture:

The handwork and craft displays were quite nice, even if they were all behind plexiglass and difficult to photograph:

The blue ribbon for women's knitted pullover went to this lovely sweater:

I decided against noting the name of the person who made this and stalking them until they become my new best friend -- proof that I have short moments of sanity, after all.

This embroidered sampler was fanfreakingtastic:

The top gladioli were all just gorgeous:

Bonsais are so cute. I love them.

The Grand Prize for oddest shaped vegetable went to this little gem:

The little old man standing beside me at the display leaned over to his wife and said, "That there's a male tomato!" Yup, pretty much. Judging by the state of the other fruits and vegetables on display, it wasn't that shriveled when it was submitted. Oh, what "hanging out" in the elements will do to a guy!

All in all, a fabulous time was had. It was a fair, it was a quest, it was a dirty vegetable (okay, tomatoes are fruit) peepshow. What do you want? Fabulous Ecuadorian flute music? Oh yeah, there was that, too.

Now if someone could just roll me into the lab, please?



YarnThrower said...

You crack me up!

Glad your test went well, and what a great celebration! Tomorrow at this time, my final will be history, too.

jmk said...

Such a funny - yet informative - post! :-))

Reminds me of the days I used to eat my way through the Puyallup Fair - oyster stew, onion burgers, elephant ears, hot scones with jam... I don't think they'd invented food-on-a-stick way back then.